Why Dylan From Spontaneous Looks So Familiar

Being a teenager is even more complicated than usual in Spontaneous, a movie about a high school where the teens are inexplicably spontaneously combusting. Even with the risk of exploding, teens have to teen, so the movie includes a sweet love story to balance out its broader genre themes. Faced with the harsh reality that any day could be their last, Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer) decide to make the best of every second they have left. And while you no doubt know Katherine Langford from Netflix shows like 13 Reasons Why and Cursed, her Spontaneous love interest Charlie Plummer might be a little harder to place.

Plummer isn't quite as high-profile as Langford just yet, but the young star already has several major projects under his belt. The 21-year-old began his career as a child actor, and he's never been one to shy away from dramatic projects. Whether he's playing the son of a '20s-era criminal or a '90s teen nursing a crush at an unconventional boarding school, Plummer infuses all of his characters with a soulfulness that makes them seem wise beyond their years.

If you still can't remember where you've seen Plummer prior to his explosive role as Dylan in Spontaneous, don't worry — we've highlighted his biggest projects to jog your memory.

Charlie Plummer played Nucky's nephew on Boardwalk Empire

One of Plummer's first big roles was as Michael Thompson on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Michael is one of Elias "Eli" Thompson's (Shea Whigham) eight children, and the nephew of notorious gangster Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, played by Steve Buscemi. (Nucky Thompson is one of many TV characters inspired by real-life people.) Since Michael is a young child, Plummer didn't get much screen time on the prestige series, but there are certainly worse ways to kick off an acting career than by appearing in a top drama on HBO.

Despite playing a minor role on the series, Plummer's character memorably witnesses the death of his grandfather, Ethan (Tom Aldredge), on the season 2 episode "Two Boats and a Lifeguard," and Michael also appears at his grandfather's funeral during the episode "Battle of the Century." Plummer continued to pop up sporadically on seasons 3 and 4, as Michael's older brother William began to challenge their father and work for Nucky in the family business, despite their father's protests.

King Jack made Charlie Plummer a go-to star for heartfelt teen projects

In contrast to his Boardwalk Empire role, King Jack rests entirely on Plummer's shoulders. The 2015 coming-of-age story marked writer-director Felix Thompson's debut, and focuses on 15-year-old Jack (Plummer), who's engaged in a war with the local bullies who torment him.

Jack feels his luck has changed when his younger cousin Ben (Cory Nichols) arrives to stay with his family. As Ben becomes the bullies' new target, however, Jack realizes he can't allow his cousin to take his place in the cycle of violence, and he begins plotting to take the bullies down for good. 

The indie film earned strong reviews upon its release (it has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94 percent), with The Los Angeles Times critic Michael Rechtshaffen noting that it's "Plummer's sensitive turn that makes the picture, winner of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival's Audience Award, stand out from the rite-of-passage pack."

The mysterious Granite Flats made Charlie Plummer a true TV star

Airing from 2013 to 2015, the under-the-radar drama series Granite Flats originally aired on the religious channel BYUtv. However, the show itself wasn't overtly religious, and instead gave off Stranger Things vibes across its three-season run. 

Granite Flats focused on a Cold War-era small town plagued by all manner of strangeness, and included a number of high-profile guest stars like Christopher Plummer and Cary Elwes. As the series progressed, the mysteries of the town — including fake aliens and a very real communist threat — became more and more complex.

One character who loves the town's abundance of conspiracy theories is Plummer's Timmy, the son of the local sheriff. The show is largely told through the eyes of Timmy and his friends, making Granite Flats one of Plummer's earliest leading roles. Despite airing on a channel that's off the beaten path, the series found a small but loyal fanbase and certainly helped bolster Plummer's career.

Charlie Plummer got kidnapped in All the Money in the World

2017 was hugely memorable for Plummer, as he starred in one of the most talked-about movies of the year: All the Money in the World. Directed by Alien and Blade Runner mastermind Ridley Scott, the crime-thriller flick is based on the book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, written by John Pearson. But this isn't a standard book-to-movie adaptation: Both Pearson's book and All the Money in the World are based on the real kidnapping of then-16-year-old John Paul Getty III — the grandson of the one-time richest man in the world, J. Paul Getty.  

The film documents the events of the younger Getty's kidnapping in Italy, where members of the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate held him captive, and his grandfather's refusal to pay the $17 million ransom to bring the teen home safe and sound — despite the older Getty being worth billions of dollars by way of the Getty Oil Company that he founded in 1942. Alongside Michelle Williams as John Paul's mother and Mark Wahlberg as her adviser, Plummer played John Paul Getty III, who had his ear severed off whilst he was in captivity, while his Granite Flats co-star Christopher Plummer (no relation to Charlie) portrayed J. Paul Getty. 

However, that isn't who originally headlined All the Money in the World. Director Scott initially filmed the movie with Kevin Spacey, known for his roles in projects like American Beauty and House of Cards, in the role of J. Paul Getty, but after many lobbied sexual abuse allegations against Spacey, Scott hired Christopher Plummer and swiftly reshot all scenes featuring Spacey — effectively removing him from All the Money in the World altogether. The filmmaker did this just a month ahead of the film's December 25, 2017 release date, making it the talk of the town.

In the end, All the Money in the World earned three Golden Globe nominations and an Academy Award nod, and reaffirmed that the younger Plummer was one to watch.

Charlie Plummer faced off with Dylan McDermott in The Clovehitch Killer

In 2018, Plummer took on the role of Tyler in the serial killer mystery The Clovehitch Killer – one of that year's best movies that critics just didn't understand. Directed by Duncan Skiles, the slow-burning thriller flick stars Dylan McDermott as Don Burnside, a seemingly perfect father and husband who may actually be a serial killer. His son Tyler, played by Plummer, makes a series of shocking discoveries that could implicate his father in the deaths of more than ten women, putting him at odds with his potentially dangerous dad.

This intense film once again centers Plummer right at the heart of the story, leaving him and McDermott to sell the erosion of their characters' father-son bond. Both actors rise to the occasion, as Tyler becomes more and more suspicious of his father's mysterious hobby and the secrets he finds tucked away in his dad's shed.

While critics felt that The Clovehitch Killer wasn't quite fast-paced enough, there's no denying how intense it is, or how fantastic Plummer is as Tyler.

Hulu's Looking for Alaska put Charlie Plummer on Hollywood's radar in a big way

Plummer's most famous role to date is undoubtedly Miles "Pudge" Halter on the Hulu miniseries Looking for Alaska. Based on the novel of the same name by John Green, the series is set at a boarding school where Miles finds a group of quirky friends and falls for an unusual girl named Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth). When tragedy befalls the group, their bonds begin to fray as Miles finds himself being ushered toward adulthood far too soon.

The emotional coming-of-age tale not only played to Plummer's strengths — as you can see, his career so far has been full of soulful teen roles — but it also put him on Hollywood's radar in a major way. In addition to Spontaneous, Plummer is attached to at least three upcoming movies: The Thicket, co-starring Game of Thrones alum Peter Dinklage; Please Baby Please, which also stars Maya Hawke of Stranger Things fame and Andrea Riseborough, who starred in the recent Grudge reboot; and the sci-fi film Moonfall.

Until those movies are released, fans who discovered the young actor in Spontaneous have plenty of Charlie Plummer projects to work their way through.